A Pho Love Story – Loan Le
Romance, comedy, rival pho restaurants, Vietnamese-Americans, young adult, fiction.
Linh and Bao’s families are rival pho restaurants. They are always competing against each other to the point where sometimes nasty words are said. Sometimes rumors are spread that are lies. Linh and Bao try to have a relationship and navigate the rough waters of their families’ rivalry. Both vowing to make it work for both of them and their families.
I was curious about this book as I was looking at the new YA section and wanted to read something different so I picked this book and some others. I liked this. I felt that this is a great and better replacement of Romeo and Juliet with a happier ending with more diverse characters. We need more diverse books in the public school curriculum that aren’t just old racist dudes. I’m sure that this is much more enriching than a tale of two people deciding to end it all if they can’t be together. These two people, Linh and Bao, work it out between their families. I can see this happening in real life and love that there is food involved. I never really tried pho but now I want to try it. Besides, I love both characters and feel for them. Go get this book and read it.
Love is a Revolution – Renee Watson
Love, dating, self-acceptance, social action, Jamacian Americans, Harlem, New York, Young Adult, POC representation, fiction.
Nala goes to an open mic night with her cousin for her birthday. When one of the poet activists, Tye, goes on stage her attention is drawn to him. She makes herself more relatable to him by omitting lies and she struggles to keep them straight as she is falling more and more for Tye. Her relationship with her cousin isn’t easy either and Nala learns to stop and reflect. She needs to love herself first and in turn love Tye.
My heart vibed with what the author wanted to express through this narrative. Love can really change and inspire a person to love themselves better. I loved the place and this felt so real that I was there. I was witnessing everything happening with Nala and her interactions. Everyone needs to go pick up this book and read this novel. I can’t express how much I love this book. I did borrow this from the library and I am definitely going to buy the book. Then most likely read it again because it was so good. I finished this book in one day and it’s that type of book that can be read in one sitting because the pacing is perfect. I do not see enough hype but this book deserves so much more hype.
Girl A – Abigail Dean
Thriller, psychological, cults, fiction.
Girl A, otherwise known as Lexie, finds out that her mother died in prison. She and her other siblings who suffered the carnage of the abuse find themselves wrapped into the past once again. Their story of how they escaped the cult and abuse tells more secrets of their family. Each of their traumas and the media glare, each struggle with facing what comes to them. All have to agree on the final act and Lexie approaches them all.
I saw this and was wondering about the hype. I always am wondering about the hype with a lot of these books. I didn’t like this novel as much as others. I don’t know. I think the whole cult thing was overdone. It was also very sad with glimmers of hope. I did like the storytelling and writing. I honestly don’t think this book was for a reader like me. I’m sure another reader would have loved this book but this wasn’t for me personally.
A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas
Feyre is brought back to life by being turned into a faerie after being murdered. She is taken to the Spring Court and to be wed to Tamlin. She wants to make herself useful and not just a pretty housewife to a Lord. When her wedding day comes, Rhysand comes to claim his part of a deal that he and Feyre had made when they were held prisoners at Under the Mountain. Every month she asks Tamlin to train her and he doesn’t want to train her and makes it a point by doing what he shouldn’t have done. Trapped her in darkness. Rhysand comes to rescue and makes her an offer to work for him. He would teach her everything that she needs to know and won’t be coddled like Tamlin did. Feyre decides to take fate into her own hands and fight for what she loves.
This was rather interesting and I loved the energy that this book has. The interactions felt realistic and the trauma that was addressed really put this book together. Feyre is experiencing PTSD from her time Under the Mountain. In this book we see that she is coping and trying to make herself stronger. Not only her but Rhysand is helping her become stronger without making any excuses that are invalid. I honestly thought at first Feyre and Tamlin were cute but in this book he became a total control freak of a jerk. I honestly do not like Tamlin at this time and am thankful for Rhysand to help Feyre in a time of need. Despite him being a jerk as well, he is a helpful jerk. I might continue the series later but I did like this novel. I wished this was shorter but there is a lot to unravel and the world building continues. I totally appreciate the breadcrumbs and slowly introducing more of this world in a palatable way. There are some spicy scenes and mature scenes so forewarning for whoever reads this book. Overall, I love this novel and I am glad that this is a new adult fantasy that isn’t only smut but actual plot and dialogue. I do recommend this if one is looking for a fantastic fantasy.
A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
Feyre is hunting for food for her family who lives in deep poverty. There is a wolf that caught what was supposed to be her kill and she kills the wolf that turned out to be a faerie. Humans and the faeries had been at war and there was a treaty between the two worlds. The faeries stay within their realm and humans stay within their own realm. She doesn’t think much of what she had done until a day or so later, a member of Prythian, comes demanding to know who killed the wolf. Feyre bravely comes forward and the faerie gives her an option, either die right there or live out her sentence in Prythian. She chooses an option where she lives out her sentence in the other realm as punishment for killing a faerie. This faerie takes her to Prythian and introduces himself as Lord Tamlin. He tells her that she is free to do whatever she wishes and that she isn’t really a prisoner. She learns about this realm and comes to slowly to love the faeries. Her attitude towards the faerie changes. Lucien, a friend of Tamlin, tells her about why they wear a mask because of a curse. She demands to know more but she can’t be told. One day, trouble and something wicked comes her way. Tamlin sends her back to the human realm and she knows she no longer fits in with the human realm nor wanted. She returns to Prythian and is told more details of the curse and how she failed to break the curse. Forcing her to go break a spell by all means necessary to save Tamlin and his court.
I saw this book trending and heard a lot of hype for it. Mostly see it trending on TikTok. I waited too long to start reading this book. This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with a lot of twists, turns, spice, and violence. Not for the faint of heart at all. The writing is exquisitely written, and the lore was spaced out like breadcrumbs in a digestible way. I do have to say there are some explicit scenes that are not suitable for children or teens. This book feels more towards new adults and adult audiences. The plot was thought into and it is noticeably clear of that. Like I mentioned before I was not expecting so many twists and turns with the spice and violence blended and presented as a retelling. I cannot wait to read the next book of this series and I will for sure as I am writing this review, will read the next book immediately. I do recommend this to the audience that wants a spicier retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I jokingly said to my friend that I was curious about how I felt after reading… Feyre is the beast and Tamlin is the beauty. Read the book. It is worth it.
To Kill A Kingdom – Alexandra Christo
Fantasy, sirens, young adult, fiction.
Lira is a princess siren who loves to collect hearts. This is a part of her tradition to collect prince hearts. Prince Elain wants to destroy all siren kind as he travels the seas but only one or two at a time does not suffice. He falls into the ocean nearly drowning and she saves him. Her mother punishes her by taking away her siren song and she has to bring back his heart. However, she seeks the same thing that Prince Elain wants and both make a deal.
I’ve seen this book all over tik tok and wanted to know what was the hype. Immediately on the first page I knew. All I can say is that this book is violent in a sense that it is appropriate for the genre of this book. This is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of taking out hearts from bodies and the author really does describe with a lot of detail. There are some mermaids but mostly this focuses on sirens which not many fictional novels mention nor have them featured. The world building was acceptable that helped the protagonists forward towards their goal. I enjoyed this novel a lot and I would recommend it for anyone who loves sirens, blood and gore, and violence. The author really went into this novel and I loved it.
A Heart So Fierce and Broken (The Curse Breaker Series: Book 2) – Brigid Kemmerer
Fairy tales, retellings, fantasy, young adult, fiction.
Grey is on the run with the new information that can get him killed. He is the true heir to Ember Fall. He nearly escaped and murdered the Enchantress who told him the truth of his birth. Karis Luran and her two daughters travel to Ember Fall to try to make a treaty of marriage to solidify the two nations. Lia Mara knows the true intentions of her vicious sister and wants peace between the two-warring kingdoms. Karis Luran meets with Rhen and blackmails him into trying to make a treatise. Rhen doesn’t want any of that. Lia decides into her own hands that led to her to becoming her mother’s pawn. Rhen finds Grey and confronts him about the heir. Grey is the heir but Rhen doesn’t know. The manhunt becomes benevolent.
I wasn’t fully into the second installment of the trilogy. The writing is amazing, and organization of the different narratives helped build the world in making this world easier to understand. The new characters in this story were interesting and this revealed a lot more than the first book of the magical world. I should say not fully invested as I was with the first book. For those who have read the first book would be into the second book. Someone let me know if the third is good or comment below if I should continue. Convince me in other words without spoiling. I see this series all over TikTok and so many others. For those who are into the first book and are deeply invested in the series then this book is for those who are into it. I just personally am good with having the first book as a standalone because the second book was all over the place for me personally.
Ascendance of a Bookworm: Part 1: Volume 1
Author – Miya Kazuki, Artist – Suzuka, Character Design – You Shinna
Reincarnation, books, librarians, literature, manga
Urano, a young college student, loves books. One day she gets killed by books toppling her during an earthquake. She prays that in the next life, she is able to access literature but fate has different plans for her. She gets reincarnated as a young sickly girl named Myne in a society where books are not accessible at all due to the lower class she was born into. Seeing that books are not accessible, she decides to make books. The first step of making a book is producing paper and she goes to gather necessary materials to make paper.
My boyfriend had watched the anime series and he found the manga books to gift to me and for me to read. I had watched some of the anime but the manga I was interested in reading. This manga is a bibliophile fantasy and really well detailed of how literature came to be plus the process of obtaining a book is never easy. While reading this, I felt that books are so underappreciated today but a hundred or more years ago they were cherished and hard to obtain because only the higher classes such as the noblemen could have these books. The main character is very relatable as we both love literature and definitely book worms. I intend to read more of the series as I come to find them because apparently this is a really hard manga to find. Luckily, as I mentioned, my boyfriend had found the books and gifted them to me. I really recommend all bibliophiles and book worms to venture and find this book. Request your nearest bookstore to bring some copies into the bookstore.
Whisper Me a Love Song – Eku Takeshima
Manga, romance, LGBTQ+, fiction.
Himari is a high school freshman attending the school’s band performance when she listens to the lead singer sing. In that moment, she falls in love with the lead singer and goes to tell the lead singer about her feelings. Yuri, the lead singer of the band, can’t believe she wasn’t the only one. Both fell in love at first sight.
This manga shares how it is like to fall in love at first sight. Realistically speaking there are so many types of love and this manga gives insight of that. This was sweet, and I certainly loved the characters. The artwork is beautiful and unbelievably detailed. I would want to find more of the series because I am deeply invested.
A Girl Like You – Cari Scribner
Women’s fiction, comedy, romance, fiction.
Jessica is ending her second marriage that was a failure. She goes through the motions of the divorce and trying to come up with a plan. Her children explain that there are dating websites and to get out there. Jessica decides to not let two failed marriages ruin her outlook on life. So, she decides to get into the dating game.
I love this novel a lot. This was hilarious and wholesome. I hadn’t expected this novel to be so heart warming too. I was expecting for it to be interesting and interesting it was. There was a lot of seriousness hidden behind the comedy that sometimes one must look at the bright side of life and to not be so negative about the bad situation. Jessica grows from page one to the final page with her experiences and realizations. Some of the sensual scenes were raunchy but tasteful. The writing style is interesting, and I love it. I would want to see more from this author. I do recommend this novel because there is a nice balance of romance and comedy. There is stuff that one can simply relate to. I want to find more of this on shelves because there is a demographic that can relate or need this book to help one reflect on if they had endured or went through failed marriages. This book shares that it is not the end of the world. Rather there is no definitive ending but for one to start living his or her own life.